Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has charged Ghanaians to put an end to the stigma and exclusionism against lepers, many of whom continue to wallow in poverty and are treated with disdain by family members and strangers alike.
Speaking at an event to mark World Lepers Day, Dr Bawumia threw a challenge to the larger society to not leave anyone behind by extending love and care to lepers as a way of obeying the divine commandment that says “Love thy neighbor like thyself,” in a bid to make life better for that vulnerable segment of the population.
Lepers in Ghana have been shunned and discriminated against for suffering a condition through no fault of theirs.
But since he assumed office Dr. Bawumia has championed the course of that vulnerable segment of the population.
His passion for the wellbeing of the leapers has seen him churn out a number of interventions including cash and kind donations on several occasions, and has gone on to become a Patron for the Lepers Aid.
At a ceremony to mark this year’s world lepers day, the Vice President reiterated the call for respect and equal opportunity for persons living with leprosy.
“If you look at the plight of people who live with leprosy, it is the plight of discrimination that they experience. They are shunned, they are avoided, and they are excluded…that is the reality of their existence”.
Dr. Bawumia added, that the lepers “are generally excluded from society, to the extend that we love them in a distance, and we are comfortable when they are hidden away. So on world leprosy day, I want us all to come together to make sure we appreciate our lepers and people suffering from leprosy and afford them the dignity in their existence” Dr. Bawumia said.
Founder of lepers Aid, Father Andrew Campbell also made a passionate appeal for philanthropists to donate for the upkeep of the many leapers across the country, arguing that most of the medical needs and procedures they go through are not catered for on the national health insurance scheme.
“We should do more for the lepers…unfortunately they are suffering from this disease but its not their fault. We can do much more…that’s why I want you to help them so we can give them a good time. Sometimes my medical bills are quite high…not everything is on the national health, and some procedures are not on the national health, and that’s why I need help,” Rev. Campbell appealed.
Doctor Bawumia at the end of the ceremony, had a dance with the cured lepers, hugged them, and capped it with a cash donation of fifty thousand Ghana cedis for the upkeep of the lepers across the country.